College Boyfriend in Recovery after Years of Struggling with Alcoholism

What is Alcoholism

Full Definition of alcoholism according to Merriam Webster Dictionary:

  1. 1: continued excessive or compulsive use of alcoholic drinks

  2. 2a : poisoning by alcoholb : a chronic disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction

John's Struggle with Alcoholism

My college boyfriend came for his annual visit last weekend. It's the third straight year he's made the trip from Arizona. What makes this reunion a miracle of sorts, are the obstacles he overcame to get to where he is today.

What a Wonderful Visit

Walking and chatting-So much catching up to do
Walking and chatting-So much catching up to do

Me and my College Sweetheart

Our first date at an elegant restaurant
Our first date at an elegant restaurant | Source
Hanging out in my dorm room in 1982
Hanging out in my dorm room in 1982 | Source

The Story of how John and I met and Fell in Love

My college boyfriend struggled for years with the debilitating disease of Alcoholism. I had no idea when John and I began dating that he was struggling with an addiction. The night we met, he was drinking but I thought nothing of it as many college kids were partaking in social drinking. We met at a "Famous Couples" party that the dormitory committee organized. I was to dress up as "Joannie" and John was to dress like "Chachi" from the t.v. show, "Happy Days." The party was actually a group blind date in that you had no idea who your date was until you saw them in costume.

I was looking forward to this event but feeling apprehensive about the "blind date" concept. What made this situation easier was knowing my buddies were in the same boat.

I'll never forget when my girlfriend's and I walked into the party room of the dorm. We nervously scanned the crowd hoping to figure out which one was our date. I thought I pinpointed a guy that looked like "Chachi." I have to admit, I was relieved to see he was good looking and not a total dweeb. I could tell he eventually noticed me too but seemed nervous and continued chatting with his friends. I finally mustered up the courage and made my way across the room and introduced myself. "Hi, are you Chachi?" He smiled at me and said, "ya, are you Joannie?"

He was a little shy at first which I found extremely appealing. Much better than the guys that were overly confident and cocky. He stood about 5'6", an inch taller than myself. He had a handsome boyish face and the most beautiful green eyes and long eyelashes. Once we started talking and broke the ice, it was clear we were both very attracted to each other. He seemed to be just my type. I was really excited to see what this night would bring.

John and I stayed up well after the party ended. We talked and laughed into the wee hours. We would end up dating on and off for the next four years. I say on and off because I realized early in the relationship he had a drinking problem. Things would become pretty chaotic and rocky because of his addiction and the poor choices he was making. Unfortunately, I was young, naïve and "in love" and kept getting back together with him throughout my college career.

John eventually graduated, long after most of his peers because of the heavy drinking. After college, he moved to Arizona with his brothers who were also addicts. His life continued to spiral downward and soon my college boyfriend was a homeless man with nothing. He would dumpster dive for his food and make a little money collecting empty cans. Soon he would be too sick to rummage for food. He continued hanging around a tough crowd of addicts and dating a woman who was dual diagnosis. She was an addict and mentally ill. He told me that it was common practice for her to let out bloodcurdling screams throughout the day because of her Schizophrenia.

The years of chronic drug use and drinking caught up with him. He began passing out due to high blood pressure and eventually began having dangerous seizures. At the worst point of his disease, he nearly died. He was told he had cirrhosis of the liver and his esophagus burst twice because of the toxins that were no longer getting filtered by the liver. This was John's rock bottom and life altering experience. He was sick and tired and asked for help with his alcoholism.

John is grateful to be alive and knows that he's a walking miracle after almost dying twice. I am so proud of him and the steps he's taken to get clean and sober. He's even back running marathons which was something he loved before the addiction robbed him of his passions.

During John's painful dark days, I was always kept abreast of his life and struggles. All I could do is PRAY and hope someday...As I sit here writing his story, I am filled with joy and gratitude that my dream has come true. That my college sweetheart is sober and truly Living his life. I lost my mother and brother to this insidious disease and John and I both know full well, it could have been him. There is always hope, even in the most desperate of cases.

© 2011 Linda Rogers

Phil Collins "Against all Odds" was one of our Songs. Interesting how it Would have Such Meaning, Years Later

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© 2011 Linda Rogers

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Comments 40 comments

AnishG profile image

AnishG 5 years ago from India

Beautiful! I loved reading your story. John is lucky to have such a caring person in his life like you, and I'm really glad he is okay now. I have to say, you're right - hope is always there, you've just got to open up your mind, embrace it, and believe that everything IS gonna be fine..

~Anish.


ThunderKeys profile image

ThunderKeys 5 years ago

As a couple-counselor, I have to say: What a partner you are!

Voted up awesome and beautiful, - Duddy.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

What a fine telling of the journey towards success for this man, it's a long haul, I know, first hand, only hard drugs were my choice, living out side the box of things that block the reality of life is harder than any one person can know of another, we do recover and find all is not lost and then we start rebuilding, peace, dust


Sneha Sunny profile image

Sneha Sunny 5 years ago from India

how sweet..... I'm glad that your college bf is recovering... All the best.... I wish for his success.. :-)


chinemeremz profile image

chinemeremz 5 years ago

The journey to Sobriety after a long spell with alcohol and all forms of drug abuse can be very daunting.

The first journey towards healing is psychological, then spiritual and finally physical. During this period, one requires loved ones as having people that care for you and will stick out their neck for you through thick and thin makes this possible. I'm so happy for your friend, remain strong for him as he takes this positive step.

All the best, and how is your twin?


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks so much for reading my story Anish. I still have to pinch myself thinking about how John has changed his life around. It makes me so happy! :-)


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Aww, thanks Duddy! John was a huge part of my life in college and will always mean the world to me. I did break it off before I graduated, knowing he was not ready to to make a change. Still amazed at the changes he's made.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

I am so glad you stopped Dusty and shared your struggle. I believe that any of us can recover from addictions. John was ready to stop when he was ready, just like you. I am so inspired by people like you in recovery. I bet life is so sweet for you :-)


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thank you kindly Sneha Sunny-Ya, it's good to know the man I loved is going to be ok. It's a dream come true for me :-)


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dear Chinemeremz-Thanks so much for your kind words. I do agree that the physical part of recovery is only one part of the process. I know that John drank to cover up a lot of pain, anger and insecurities he carried around with him. Now it's time for him to come to grips with all of it and free himself. By the way, sis is great! she's actually taking a relaxing Saturday cat nap. LOL


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

What a very touching story and I'm so glad your John is in recovery. It's wonderful that you've been a loving support for him.

My brother died at 45 from alcoholic cirrhosis after many relapses and as you say, this is a horrible, insidious disease.

Loved the college photos.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 5 years ago from Massachusetts

Thanks for sharing this touching story within this well written hub. Glad to hear your friend John is now in recovery, it's because of good friends like you that helped him through it.


Daffy Duck profile image

Daffy Duck 5 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

It's always great to hear a story of someone beating an addiction. Please remember that when someone recovers from an addiction they never fully recover. They can slip right back into it at any time.

All My Best :)


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

I am SO SORRY happyboomernurse about your brother. We have both seen the dark side of alcoholism. I lost my brother at 39 and my mom at 39 (I was in 4th grade when mom died). Although we have gone through alot with this disease, I am sure you have learned many lessons because of the pain. Great to see you here :-)


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thank you so much Kashmir for your kind words. There were many years I was really ticked at my brother but I came to realize his life was a living hell and I had no right to judge. I know my brother understands the years I was a poop to him. Trust me, he was also a poop to me in his really hard core drinking days. My brother and John who I wrote about, were two peas in a pod which made it even harder. Two men I loved the most yet brought me so much pain. I look back and know it WASN'T me. It was the DISEASE!!!! I thank God for anyone in recovery that hasn't lost their life to this.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Daffy Duck. Yes, I am not in denial about the possible relapses. Most actually slip many times before they truly quit. I think My ex boyfriend is motivated by the fact that he WILL die if he drinks again. Physically, his body cannot do it anymore. Thankfully he wants to live and made the right choice.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota

an inspiring story of overcoming.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks Tamarajo-Yes, his story says a lot about overcoming struggles and how there is always hope.


marellen 5 years ago

Its good to read that John has and is making a recovery. He is a lucky person to have you in his life as a friend who cares. I'm sure it means the world to him. Thanks for sharing this story with us.


catgypsy profile image

catgypsy 5 years ago from the South

What a horrible existence he lived and how lucky he is to have pulled through it, and to have someone like you in his life. I'm so glad it had a happy ending. Thank you for sharing your personal stories with us.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks for reading this story Marellen. Yes, I know it helps John a lot knowing I didn't judge him. We all have struggles and this was his. I am really happy for him and very proud.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

You are so welcome Catgypsy. Hopefully this can give hope to anyone that feels hopeless with there own personal struggle.


jasminegeorge profile image

jasminegeorge 5 years ago from Rome

I thought I read the synopsis of a film, and instead is the story of a life.Thank you for sharing this story.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks so much Jasmine for your kind words. Yes, this is a real life story and I am grateful it turned out good for my friend John. He is a real inspiration to me :-)


CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 5 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

A very brave man. I do hope that he continues to win his own personal battle


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Me too CASEWORKER. I do think he's very motivated about his recovery.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

I could so relate...Alcoholism runs in Families...I had a boyfriend who also (I was to discovery) had a drinking problem...we broke up because he stated, "I was no longer being nice about his Occasional drinking" (which became out of control). I found out a few years later that he died from an Aneurysm to the Brain. Your John was a very Lucky man...Thanks for sharing.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

It is sooo sad how many people suffer from this disease. I too broke it off with John when I knew the bottle was number one as well as the chaos it created. I appreciate you coming by and sharing your personal story.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia

Such a sad story. It truly is a disease. You have to hit rock bottom before you even consider changing. I hope your kind heart has heeled friend. Hopefully he stays sober and you 2 can be good friends. Take care.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks for your kind words lyricwriter. I have lost way too many people in my life to this disease, so I am grateful for anyone that conquers this disease. The last few years being in touch with John again has been a miracle I never expected. I truly thought he would die. There is always hope no matter the struggle :-)


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

This is a very sad story and one I can relate to in that my own father was an alcoholic. As I was reading your story I was wondering what subconscious forces were at work to have attracted you to each other and found the answer in the last paragraph. There are no coincidences in this life but few ever make the connections.

Addiction is something we all fall prey to and it is just that some addictions are more socially accepted than others. Someone who spends their life gambling or working creates just as much pain and havoc in their own lives and the lives of their loved ones but is not as visually recognisable to people outside their circles as someone who is constantly intoxicated.

You have been a loyal friend to this man and I suspect your friendship has been more instrumental in his recovery than you have given yourself credit for in this hub.

Thank you.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks so much for sharing your experience here Spirit Whisperer. You are so right that there are so many of us with different types of addictions but some are more obvious than others and some are more socially acceptable. Food and weight issues have always been my biggest struggle. Thanks for your kind words about my loyalty and friendship with John. He has told me our relationship is very important as many didn't understand the disease or couldn't handle it which only helped to make things worse for him and his insecurities. I'm grateful he made it-(Cross fingers that it's forever)!


acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 5 years ago from Guildford

An extremely touching story - thank you for sharing.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

You are so welcome Acaetnna. Hopefully it can be hopeful for anyone struggling with some kind of addiction. Great to see your smiling face here today :-)


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

What a very beautiful story to share, personal yet shared with an open and loving heart. What a wonderful friend you were to John. I am so moved when I read stories like this, here is a man who fought the odds and death knocking at his door to accomplish what he has done, running marathons etc.

I take my hat off to him and your support towards him. I know what it's like to be down and out, I grew up in an alcoholic family and I know of many who went homeless, unfortunately many didn't make it and are still there or dead. Hugs to you for being the person you are, blessings to you and John from me.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Aww, thank you so much for your kind comments Vincent. I too came from an alcoholic family. I am sure that's why I gravitated to John (unconsciously)as he was so much like my father. I went from straight from home with dad and to college and met John. He is doing great and I am so grateful for that :-)


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

Linda, I don't need to tell you that this is such a beautiful story :) It's beautiful that you were able to touch base with John after many years, that he's recovering and hopefully sober, that you are supportive of him. I super love the pics! Imagine, it was taken in 1982! Thank you for this hub. Voting it beautiful and many more.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Kerlynb-I am so touched that you liked my story about my old college love. It is so fun to share not only my story but my pictures in this new tech age. Thanks so much for your kind words and your button pushing for me. Have a wonderful Sunday Kerlynb :-)


BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image

BLACKANDGOLDJACK 4 years ago from Blitzburgh area

Touching story, Linda.

I’ve had considerable experience dealing with addicts. Just to mention one . . .

His name was Doc. Doc was a believer, but he’d backslide and go back and forth between being right with God and the demons of addiction, mostly crack cocaine. Doc would go to various rehabs, but always suffer relapses. His brother, Dan, is a pastor. Both of us would do what we could and discuss various options in dealing with the situation. Doc was a good-looking guy, an all-state linebacker in high school, and a person who could do most anything, from cooking to cement work. He had a wife and three children, but the wife, whose brother is also a pastor, just couldn’t take it any more and divorced him. Doc had a beautiful singing voice and got me to sing in church with him and a couple other guys. My singing voice is terrible, but they needed somebody. I’d mostly lip sync. The guys would sing and then tell short inspirational stories at the church service. I am good at telling stories. Doc would tell about his addiction problems, and let me tell you, he would have people crying.

Anyway, about 7 years ago, Doc comes to see me. He had been attending a school (for learning sign language, he wanted to do that as some sort of ministry) around a hundred miles away, and doing quite well I had heard. But his brother Dan told me Doc had recently left school and was on another drug binge. When Doc came to see me, he looked and acted straight, and was very sincere in telling me he wanted to go back to school. He asked me to lend him the money for a bus ticket. I said I wouldn’t give him the money, but I would go down to the bus station with him and buy him a ticket.

Just before we get inside the bus station, my cell phone rings. I’m talking on the phone, while he’s saying to me just give me the money and I’ll get the ticket. But I wouldn’t. So I dispense with the phone call, and we go in and I buy the ticket. I handed him the ticket (That’s where I made my mistake, but things were going so well). The bus was not to leave for around a half hour. The phone call had been from my ex-wife who wanted me to run over some tax papers I had been working on for her. I told Doc to sit on the bench there at the bus station and I would be back in 15 minutes and see him off. Which I was. But he wasn’t there. So I ask the clerk and she tells me Doc cashed in the ticket and took off.

Doc died in a snowmobile accident 2 years later. I hope I see him in heaven because he was one of my favorite people, when he was straight. I loved him like a brother, in the Lord and otherwise.

Well, didn’t that spiel make me hungry. Off to read some of your recipes.

Be good,

Jack


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Ok Jack-You got me crying and full of goosebumps on this story. You should really share this as a hub because it's so powerful and can help others. I find when I write these hubs it's like a year of counseling and healing for me. I am so sorry that Doc passed away. Was he under the influence when he got in the accident. I am guessing he probably was. You must know a lot about addiction because I can see from your story that you didn't take some of doc's shenanigans personal. It's a disease and they will do whatever it takes to get their fix, even if it means knocking people over to do it or get it. Addiction sucks! My whole life from childhood to adulthood was plagued with this disease. My mom died from cirrhosis when I was nine and she was thirty-nine and then my brother who was one year older than me died from an overdose at thirty-nine just like mom. My dad struggled with it and went to treatment five times. You have to really want it and he eventually sobered up for good in his late fifties. It's a time with dad that I'll never forget. Lots of tears, forgiveness and love and catching up on some lost time. We were actually really close through the years after mom died but his drinking had me on a roller coaster from hell. Anyhoo, thank you so much for reading my story about my college boyfriend. I hope you have a great weekend my friend :-)

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